This week, our trusty farrier came out to trim the feet on our three new boys. Snickers, Baxter and Acadia were all perfectly behaved, and we were especially eager to see the change in Baxter’s extremely overgrown front feet. We had imagined that it could take some time before the feet began to look normal, and we were amazed to see the difference that one good trim can make!
We strive to keep all of our horses barefoot if at all possible. Often the hooves can grow strong and healthy on their own without shoes, and we try to let our horses remain as close to their natural way of living as we can. From a practical standpoint, the maintenance of a barefoot horse is simpler and more affordable than that of a horse with shoes; which is certainly something we try to keep in mind with horses who will eventually find new homes. Finally, if horses kick out at one another they are far less likely to cause harm when they are barefoot– since we turn horses out in groups we are always looking to avoid any play-related injuries!
Of course, there are always certain horses who don’t do well barefoot and who need the extra support and cushioning that shoes can provide. Some of our recent New Holland rescues such as Harlow and Teak arrived with feet that were in such rough shape that they needed front shoes. In such cases our farrier uses glue-on shoes, which offer support while enabling new growth of the heel and hoof wall. We add in a hoof supplement, and our goal over time would be to have all of our horses barefoot once their feet have regrown and become healthy.